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Is hobby interest in pre-WWII cars Dying?


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Interesting read. I suspect the truth for many of us is somewhere in the middle. Personally, I couldn'y afford to play with cars if they didn't have value. The fact that I can buy basket cases, rebuild them and have the joy of bringing them back from the dead, then sell them and recoup at least most of my money, if not all, makes it worthwhile. We have been told that antique cars are a better investment than stocks for several years and all kinds of traders have speculated. Cars are bought on the east coast and sold on the west coast for a profit.

 

Some years ago a friend restored a mid 30s Hudson coupe/ roadster. He took it to an action and got 60,000 for it. Turns out the auctioneer bought it and took it to the next auction where it brought 80. He no selled it and advertised it in the next auction where it brought a higher price but once again he didn't let it go. I think it finally brought around 120 and he let it go. Maybe those days are gone but how would I know? Why shouldn't I expect my car to increase in value?

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I have seen a lot of old guys that wouldn't walk across the street to look at certain models and years of cars..... unless it was for sale and they thought they were stealing it. Then they are out there at the next meet, strutting around telling everyone what a great car it is.

 

If you haven't seen that happen, in the next few days you will probably receive a notice that your chapter dues were not paid in January

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There is a lot more changing in the hobby than just the age of the current active people. Do the math...........if the time you spent on your computer/tablet/smart phone was spent in you garage working on your car........It would be finished by now. Disposable income and TIME are the most limiting factors in the hobby today........and time is what’s is really effecting it the most.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, AHa said:

Some years ago a friend restored a mid 30s Hudson coupe/ roadster. He took it to an action and got 60,000 for it. Turns out the auctioneer bought it and took it to the next auction where it brought 80. He no selled it and advertised it in the next auction where it brought a higher price but once again he didn't let it go. I think it finally brought around 120 and he let it go. Maybe those days are gone but how would I know? Why shouldn't I expect my car to increase in value? 

Yeah, those days are definitely gone.  My car is rare, but not selling at  a fair price.  Dealers and auctioneers can always sell for a much better price than individual hobbyists.  It's a fact of life.  I've done numerous high end restorations.  Back in 1981 I could make money, but today I can only lose a bundle of money.  I don't have a problem with that.  The end satisfaction justifies the expense.  But the car I want to sell now has old money in it.  One reason it costs so much more to restore now is that back in the seventies I had all NOS chrome to use that I had collected.  Now chrome plating is out of sight....no more 39 Buick bumpers being plated for $22 each <grin>.  There are no more dealers with truckloads of NOS parts in the attic either.  And, all my mechanic friends are either dead or in a nursing home.  I have thought I'd been careful to just keep it nice, tour it, keep it covered my my garage and soforth.  I can't' even come ahead on old money.  Times have changed.

 

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

 Dealers and auctioneers can always sell for a much better price than individual hobbyists.  It's a fact of life. 

 

I disagree, for the most part.  Please, Earl, do not

perpetuate the myth.  A lot of auction prices are reasonable;

and when dealers offer their cars on Ebay, there are usually

no takers at their high prices.

 

Consider 1977-79 Lincolns, for instance.  They are very

common, as many were saved as the last of the big cars.

One can buy a medium-mileage Lincoln for, say, $6000-8000,

and have plenty to choose from.  Dealers will put an asking price of

at least double on that car--say $15,000 or more--and hold onto

that asking price like grim death, even when there are plenty of

nice Lincolns for sale at realistic prices.  They must feel that 

they can't lower their published asking prices, as private sellers do.

If they lowered their asking prices, how could they ask $15,000 

for the next one?

 

I appreciate sellers who ask prices 10% or 20% above market

value, and are happy to negotiate down to a price that's fair for all.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

I disagree, for the most part.  Please, Earl, do not

perpetuate the myth.  A lot of auction prices are reasonable;

and when dealers offer their cars on Ebay, there are usually

no takers at their high prices.

 

Consider 1977-79 Lincolns, for instance.  They are very

common, as many were saved as the last of the big cars.

One can buy a medium-mileage Lincoln for, say, $6000-8000,

and have plenty to choose from.  Dealers will put an asking price of

at least double on that car--say $15,000 or more--and hold onto

that asking price like grim death, even when there are plenty of

nice Lincolns for sale at realistic prices.  They must feel that 

they can't lower their published asking prices, as private sellers do.

If they lowered their asking prices, how could they ask $15,000 

for the next one?

 

I appreciate sellers who ask prices 10% or 20% above market

value, and are happy to negotiate down to a price that's fair for all.

John:  I respectfully disagree with you John, based on my lifetime experience.  I've seen dealers sell for higher prices than I could ever do for myself.  I base that on one car I bought that wasn't worth what I paid for it, and one that was sold by a dealer for more than I could have gotten for it where I ended up with what I wanted (about $6K less than I'd dumped into it).  So, it works both ways.  Buy high sell low Earl they call me, because I get anxious and often give in for what they want to pay instead of what I want.  In other words, I feel like I'm "easy"

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On 5/15/2019 at 12:54 PM, Matt Harwood said:

And how many '50s and '60s movies had car clubs as the villains?

 

If you've never seen it,  check out Hot Rods to Hell (1967) starring Dana Andrews as a family man trying to drive his 61 Plymouth through the desert to a motel he is buying, and being constantly harassed by some spoiled brat teenagers driving a convertible Corvette and their hot rod friends.  It's a real hoot and a nostalgic time piece of the 60s!  

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I posted on this forum about a year ago pointing out the fact that pre war cars were desirable to less and less potential buyers and that the price of all (except of course ''pre war greats'') should and MUST go down in order to renew interest in younger generations. What I mentioned was that older guys STUBBORNLY hold on to a price they think is still pertinent and DO NOT budge. So, year after year, we all see the same cars (with the same owner) come back in the classified adds trying to sell their cars the amount they think its worth or based on false evaluation/value guides.

Again, a car is only worth what people are willing to pay and for pre war cars, very few are willing to pay what people are asking and so, they rarely sell. Some RARE younger guys like me would be willing to buy one (for less money of course) but  its impossible to make pre war cars owners understand that their cars are not worth what they used to. So they look for a potential car to buy for a few months, or in my case, a few years and when we realize that a good car at a realistic price is simply not possible, we simply move on. So I've been looking for a few years for a good buy on a pre war car but came to the conclusion that most owners live in another world so I gave up on the pre war market and looked at cars from my own genereation. So last winter I bought an extremely well preserved SN95 Mustang convertible. At less than half the price of a pre war car I have a perfect car with minimum wear. I also enjoy the fact that guys from my own generation also enjoy looking and talking about the car because they can relate to it. I still enjoy reading about and looking at pre war cars but I'm very happy with how things turned out and will not be buying a pre war car anytime soon... 

I know from experience that posting this kind of message on this forum will bring me all sorts of aggressive replies (as it was with my original post) but I really don't care. My intention here is maybe to wake some of you guys up, and so maybe help save what is indeed a dying part of the hobby.

Edited by PreWarQc (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, PreWarQc said:

I posted on this forum about a year ago pointing out the fact that pre war cars were desirable to less and less potential buyers and that the price of all (except of course ''pre war greats'') should and MUST go down in order to renew interest in younger generations. What I mentioned was that older guys STUBBORNLY hold on to a price they think is still pertinent and DO NOT budge. So, year after year, we all see the same cars (with the same owner) come back in the classified adds trying to sell their cars the amount they think its worth or based on false evaluation/value guides.

Again, a car is only worth what people are willing to pay and for pre war cars, very few are willing to pay what people are asking and so, they rarely sell. Some RARE younger guys like me would be willing to buy one (for less money of course) but  its impossible to make pre war cars owners understand that their cars are not worth what they used to. So guys like me look for a potential car to buy for a few months, or in my case, a few years and when we realize that a good car at a realistic price is simply not possible, we simply move on. So I've been looking for a few years for a good buy on a pre war car but came to the conclusion that most owners live in another world so I gave up on the pre war market and looked at cars from my own genereation. So last winter I bought an extremely well preserved SN95 Mustang convertible. At less than half the price of a pre war car I have a perfect car with minimum wear. I also enjoy the fact that guys from my own generation also enjoy looking and talking about the car because they can relate to it. I still enjoy reading about and looking at pre war cars but I'm very happy with how things turned out and will not be buying a pre war car anytime soon... 

I know from experience that posting this kind of message on this forum will bring me all sorts of aggressive replies (as it was with my original post) but I really don't care. My intention here is maybe to wake some of you guys up, and so maybe help save what is indeed a dying part of the hobby.

Well, thank you for your service to us greedy old guys.  You sure showed us--you bought a newer car instead of an overpriced pre-war car.  Do I hear "nya, nya, nya"?

 

Now I'll depart from sarcasm (mostly).  You may be failing to count all the pre-war cars offered and which DID SELL during your year of research; you seem to only see those which did not.  I certainly agree that some cars, of whichever age, do not sell for the reasons you mention.  Stick around and buy them after we croak and our heirs just want them off the property.  Did you include estate auctions in your research?

 

The "worth" is what something actually sells for from a willing seller to a willing buyer, just as you said.  What you're accusing people of is not being a Willing Seller by not accepting a price that YOU are willing to pay..  I've been in the hobby over 50 years and have missed some wonderful opportunities because I either didn't have the cash (1938 Lincoln Zephyr conv sedan, #3 condition, $650,  in 1965) or due to objections of a then-wife (1939 Cad 75 conv coupe, #3 condition, one of 27 built, $2500 in 1968; 1964 Porsche Super Carrera twin cam from orig owner, 45K impeccable garage-kept miles with new engine [owner lost an external oil line at speed], $2500 in 1971).  My principle over the years has been, assuming that I have the cash and available storage, I'll spend a bit more than current market to acquire a special car that will be a long term hold.

 

If you want an open Cadillac V-16 or an open Packard V-12, you're gonna have to cough up some serious change, but if you want to get into a CCCA-eligible car relatively inexpensively, look at CLOSED Lincoln Ls and Ks, or Pierce 80-81.  If keeping up with modern traffic is a priority, then you'll want a car with factory overdrive from the mid to late 1930s, including MoPaR, Studebaker and Nash.  Once you have decided what features you want, apply market aspects to your price range, and make offers.

 

Uh, I'm already awake, thank you.

Edited by Grimy
fix typo (see edit history)
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No Reserve: 1940 Buick CoupeNo Reserve: 1940 Buick Coupe

 

No Reserve: 1940 Buick Coupe, SOLD FOR $18,500 ON 5/16/19

 

Is this a legitimate price data point? I would think so, since it was a widely published auction.

 

It is interesting in it is said to have $13k bare metal paint work, new leather interior. So it seems to confirm prices are weak. I other words, if this were a private seller offering it in Hemmings, I doubt he would have been asking for $18.5k.

 

http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1940-buick-coupe-3-speed/

 

No Reserve: 1940 LaSalle Series 50 Coupe

 

No Reserve: 1940 LaSalle Series 50 Coupe, SOLD FOR $27,500 ON 5/16/19

 

This is rather weak too, I'd say.

 

1940 LaSalle Series 50 Coupe

 

 

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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14 minutes ago, Grimy said:

Well, thank you for your service to us greedy old guys.  You sure showed us--you bought a newer car instead of an overpriced pre-war car.  Do I hear "nya, nya, nya"?

 

Now I'll depart from sarcasm (mostly).  You may be failing to count all the pre-war cars offered and which DID SELL during your year of research; you seem to only see those which did not.  I certainly agree that some cars, of whichever age, do not sell for the reasons you mention.  Stick around and buy them after we croak and our heirs just want them off the property.  Did you include estate auctions in your research?

 

 

 

I've spent years shopping for PreWar cars and have had the same experience as @PreWarQc. Anyone who shops actively will notice that prices are in decline. For all your years in the hobby, i doubt you've experienced this phenomena to the extent it's happening.  You've been fortunate to see cars appreciate for most of your collecting days. There is another side to that coin.

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Earl started this discussion because he was surprised with his inability to sell his 1939 Buick Special Convertible Sedan as quickly as he thought he should be able to sell it. From reviewing similar recent sales, I told him that I thought his price was too high. I follow the market for similar cars fairly closely since I am the editor of the newsletter for the 36-38 Buick Club. As it turns out, Earl has sold the car for a higher price than I told him that I though the car was worth in the current market. I have seen all sorts of pre-war cars for sale and sold at all kinds of different prices. Sometimes they sell for more than I expect, and sometimes they sell for less. That is simply the way the market works. A car is worth what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. Sometimes the two find each other quickly, and sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes the seller has unreasonabl expectations and sometimes the buyer has unreasonable expectations. There is no simple hard and fast rule to determine the exact value of a particular car on a particular day. 

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1 minute ago, Buick64C said:

 

I've spent years shopping for PreWar cars and have had the same experience as @PreWarQc. Anyone who shops actively will notice that prices are in decline. For all your years in the hobby, i doubt you've experienced this phenomena to the extent it's happening.  You've been fortunate to see cars appreciate for most of your collecting days. There is another side to that coin.

Certainly there are no guarantees of value appreciation, especially when one factors in inflation (sellers of long-held cars never mention that to their families).  At the time of the 1968 and 1971 failed purchases, I was making a bit less than $10K per year as an Army captain.  This thread has also addressed that this is one of very few hobbies in which one may expect to PERHAPS break even or have a relatively minor loss after years of enjoyment.

 

My comment was (1) many pre-war cars HAVE sold during his year of searching, and (2) what, other than recently completed sales. can be the arbiter of what's too much to pay or too little to sell for AT THE TIME?

 

This thread has also had discussion of current restoration costs being unretrievable in the short-term.

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26 minutes ago, Grimy said:

Well, thank you for your service to us greedy old guys.  You sure showed us--you bought a newer car instead of an overpriced pre-war car.  Do I hear "nya, nya, nya"?

 

If you hear ''nya, nya, nya'', it is only created by your imagination. I noticed from my previous thread that some members have a bad habit of creating things in their mind that do not exist... I'm very happy with my car, even if its more recent. The basic idea is not to own the oldest car around but simply to get into the hobby. I would of enjoyed a pre-war car also. So it is not ''victory'' for me, it simply is what it is, you don't need to add anything else to the story.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Grimy said:

  This thread has also addressed that this is one of very few hobbies in which one may expect to PERHAPS break even or have a relatively minor loss after years of enjoyment

 

 

AMEN!

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48 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

Earl started this discussion because he was surprised with his inability to sell his 1939 Buick Special Convertible Sedan as quickly as he thought he should be able to sell it. From reviewing similar recent sales, I told him that I thought his price was too high. I follow the market for similar cars fairly closely since I am the editor of the newsletter for the 36-38 Buick Club. As it turns out, Earl has sold the car for a higher price than I told him that I though the car was worth in the current market. I have seen all sorts of pre-war cars for sale and sold at all kinds of different prices. Sometimes they sell for more than I expect, and sometimes they sell for less. That is simply the way the market works. A car is worth what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. Sometimes the two find each other quickly, and sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes the seller has unreasonabl expectations and sometimes the buyer has unreasonable expectations. There is no simple hard and fast rule to determine the exact value of a particular car on a particular day. 

 

I agree with this up to a point... I mainly think that prices are kept artificially high. I would not say prices are in the stratosphere but they are high enough to keep a lot of potential enthusiasm OUT of the hobby and lots of ''investors'' with no real interest in cars - IN. Short term this is great for prices, but long term, you are not building a real base of enthusiasm and people have no choice but to pay a high price (those who can - and investors).

Its a well inflated bubble, keeping new buyers out and old investors or people with a lot of money in... but lets say with stocks, when the prices fall, young people will buy... with cars, you need real enthusiasm to buy when the price is low and I doubt there will be a lot left in the coming years.

 

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1 hour ago, Grimy said:

My comment was (1) many pre-war cars HAVE sold during his year of searching, and (2) what, other than recently completed sales. can be the arbiter of what's too much to pay or too little to sell for AT THE TIME?

 

 

Cars that HAVE sold is an easy metric to find. One needs to look no further then auction results. It's pretty clear from those that the trend is downward.

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35 minutes ago, Buick64C said:

Cars that HAVE sold is an easy metric to find. One needs to look no further then auction results. It's pretty clear from those that the trend is downward.

I don't think I've argued otherwise (super-premium cars excluded, of course).

 

When negotiating for a specific car, present a list of recent comparable auction sales, with links, if possible.  Because most auction results are fee-inclusive (say 10% buyer premium and 10% seller fee), calculate the NET the consignor received.  Creating a spreadsheet, I used that technique four years ago when negotiating my most recent purchase, a car I'd been after since 1998.

 

I make a point of not running down a car's condition, to avoid offending the owner.  I will say that for my proposed usage, I'd have to replace the tires, go through the brakes (and whatever else) at a cost of approximately $nnn, and that limits what I am *able* to pay for the car as is.

 

If one is interested in a specific marque, join that marque-specific club, because often long-held cars (vs.flipped) are offered FIRST within the club prior to mass marketing.  Franklins and Pierce-Arrows are great examples of this.  Especially in single-marque clubs, people aging out of the hobby are often looking for the Optimal Next Custodian for a long-held, long-enjoyed car, and may be willing to give such a person a break on the price.  I have both given and received such consideration.  How you present yourself (will you be that "Optimal Next Custodian"?) is definitely a factor in buying a long-held car.

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1 hour ago, PreWarQc said:

 

I agree with this up to a point... I mainly think that prices are kept artificially high. I would not say prices are in the stratosphere but they are high enough to keep a lot of potential enthusiasm OUT of the hobby and lots of ''investors'' with no real interest in cars - IN. Short term this is great for prices, but long term, you are not building a real base of enthusiasm and people have no choice but to pay a high price (those who can - and investors).

Its a well inflated bubble, keeping new buyers out and old investors or people with a lot of money in... but lets say with stocks, when the prices fall, young people will buy... with cars, you need real enthusiasm to buy when the price is low and I doubt there will be a lot left in the coming years.

 

 

What I don't get is the current pricing of the "better' nickel era cars. Probably sport touring or roadster body style. The closed cars in this era are too rare to be much of a factor. By "better" I am mainly talking Marmon , post brass, pre vertical 8 Stutz, small model Pierce, Kissel Kars, might even squeeze L head Mercer's into the generalization plus a few I have overlooked. 

 They ; as a blanket statement, take a very capable and enthusiastic owner. Parts are nonexistent, club support is spotty. Opportunity's to use them are quite limited, 2 wheel brakes on most , too slow for general antique tours, too new for many Brass Era groups.

 And up to 15 -20 years ago they were generally reasonably priced, mainly for the above reasons. Then they seemed to shoot up in price , and although prices may be easing a little, still seem to have quite high asking prices. 

I can see those prices justified for the very rare factory speedsters and similar very special individual cars {Gold Bug's, Bearcat's}. But I get the impression quite a few of the survivors of this type are languishing unused at the back of garages.

 Hopefully prices will settle out to a realistic level within my lifetime.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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37 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

They ; as a blanket statement, take a very capable and enthusiastic owner. Parts are nonexistent, club support is spotty. Opportunity's to use them are quite limited, 2 wheel brakes on most , too slow for general antique tours, too new for many Brass Era groups.

Greg, I'll quibble about everything except opportunity to drive (extensively).  Pierce-Arrow Society (PAS) has superb tech support and there are numerous reproduction parts available.  I've never owned a Franklin, but owners tell me the same about their club.  As to price differentials between open vs. closed cars, look at cars from the late 1950s and 1960s which seems (to me) to have a greater open vs. closed price differential.

 

We have to seek opportunities to tour, true.  Last month we had 40 nickel cars (eligibility through 1932) on a 5-day tour out of Minden, NV, run by the Nickel Era Touring Registry (NETR) of HCCA.  We had everything from Model Ts to (five) Pierces, with no hidden hierarchy of marques--just car folks having fun.  It was cold and rainy much of the time. Here's a photo of the 1918 Pierce climbing Kingsbury Grade (7,500 ft summit) thru snow flurries to Lake Tahoe (elev. 6250 ft).  We did a loop of the lake, where the day's high was 42*F.  NETR does one tour a year: 2017 in Calif Gold Country, 2018 on WA's Olympic Peninsula, 2020 out of Moscow ID.

 

I'm also a member (and permanent secretary) of another Nickel Club in central Calif which does two tours per year.

Kingsbury Grade.jpg

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True rarity should play a role in the price.  Buick built something like 105,000 Special's in 1939, of which only 714 were 4dr convertibles.  If a restored 4dr sedan can bring $12-18,000, it seems to me a 4dr convertible should bring at least 3 times as much.  Simply supply and demand if somebody likes a '39 Buick.  I've been AACA since 1962 and that has always been  the case.  It has always been about soft tops, liklihood of survival and rarity.

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I think the original premise of this thread is flawed. It seems to equate "dying" with prices falling. Dying would be when pre-war cars were headed for the scrap heap. Prices falling is just a conventional market readjustment that anyone, in any other field of collecting, would expect. Why should cars be immune from market forces? Old cars are a very subjective interest. No one "needs" one and they are always purchased with discretionary income. I think that what we are seeing is a readjustment where buyers with big money - who may be even more influenced by current fad and fancy than the general enthusiast - are drawn to other things. Those will eventually decline as well...nothing is as ephemeral as fashion.

 

What we now have is a situation where a lot of cars are still in the hands of people who can't come to grips with the idea that they cannot be sold now for what the owner thought they could bring only a few years ago. So what...falling prices provide an opportunity for enthusiasts who, till now, were priced out of the market. This site echos with lamentations about the future of the hobby but a trend like this, that ultimately promises to be good for the hobby, appears to be a big cause for concern.

 

As to the nickel era cars that 1912Staver likes (I like them too) we just have to watch and wait. There is a reasonable chance that, when those cars have to be sold we'll see further readjustment in prices.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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24 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

No one "needs" one and they are always purchased with discretionary income. I think that what we are seeing is a readjustment where buyers with big money - who may be even more influenced by current fad and fancy than the general enthusiast - are drawn to other things

I have needed pre-WWII Buicks of 1934-1942 vintage since I could walk and since I was 16 since I could buy.  Want always spilled over to "need" for me from the day in 1959 when I married.  I wasn't married a year before I bought a truly tired 1939 Buick sedan out of a yard in our neighborhood and had to wait a week to get my body shop owning cousin to haul it to my father-in-law to help get it running.  I never had any real money.  As the years went along the good convertibles increased in value every year and I could never afford one until 1968 when I managed an unrestored convertible coupe.  In 1963 I had to borrow $120 from the credit union to buy a 4dr sedan.  The convertible coupe needed more than I could do so I sold it.  Finally, I was able to buy a very nice 65,000 miles convertible sedan for $1700.  I don't remember where I got that money, but I'm sure my wife and kids suffered for it.  I just "needed" it and my tongue was hanging out to get it.  I told my wife it would be an investment.  I kept it and we restored it in my own garage and in 1985 I sold it to help build a house.  When my Dad passed I inherited a little money and I went back and re-purchased my car for $8000 more than I sold it for and kept it another 19 years until Father Time started to catch up.  All during those years I could see interest dropping in pre-WWII cars, but I couldn't let it go.  My daughter said, "Dad, you sold that car once, and you got it back, you may not get it back the next time".  Surely, at my age I will not.  The time had finally come.  On the AACA show fields a line of perhaps 8-10 1941 Buicks would be in Class in 1975.  This had now dropped to maybe one, once in a great a while.  But people still wanted them, just not like in the early 1970s.  It appears to me now that only a very few people want them at all.  Maybe I'm wrong, I hope so.  The money today is in 1960s cars and it is sliding over to 1970s already.  That is just my opinion, and I've been around a lot of years.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Grimy said:

Greg, I'll quibble about everything except opportunity to drive (extensively).  Pierce-Arrow Society (PAS) has superb tech support and there are numerous reproduction parts available.  I've never owned a Franklin, but owners tell me the same about their club.  As to price differentials between open vs. closed cars, look at cars from the late 1950s and 1960s which seems (to me) to have a greater open vs. closed price differential.

 

We have to seek opportunities to tour, true.  Last month we had 40 nickel cars (eligibility through 1932) on a 5-day tour out of Minden, NV, run by the Nickel Era Touring Registry (NETR) of HCCA.  We had everything from Model Ts to (five) Pierces, with no hidden hierarchy of marques--just car folks having fun.  It was cold and rainy much of the time. Here's a photo of the 1918 Pierce climbing Kingsbury Grade (7,500 ft summit) thru snow flurries to Lake Tahoe (elev. 6250 ft).  We did a loop of the lake, where the day's high was 42*F.  NETR does one tour a year: 2017 in Calif Gold Country, 2018 on WA's Olympic Peninsula, 2020 out of Moscow ID.

 

I'm also a member (and permanent secretary) of another Nickel Club in central Calif which does two tours per year.

Kingsbury Grade.jpg

 

Definitely there are some very enthusiastic owners of these cars. However I suspect there are up to possibly 750 individual cars existent that I would put in this broad category , perhaps 200 - 300 drivable, where are all the others? I generally see these cars as being from 1916 and newer and I have a mental cut off at about 1928 or in some cases 1925, after that the better cars are entering the "classic" era and are quite a different machine.

Franklins are fine machines but not quite my thing.

 I would personally relish Pierce ownership, but I doubt I will ever be able to bridge the cost obstacle. Pierce 80's were a car I followed closely but then they also seemed to shoot up in price. Especially wire wheel Roadsters and Sport Touring's.

Before the need to seek out touring opportunity's I need to own a running car to tour with. With todays cost vs income relationship, that day is still a long way off.

 

Greg

pierce-arrow_model_80_roadster_7.jpg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I would personally relish Pierce ownership, but I doubt I will ever be able to bridge the cost obstacle. Pierce 80's were a car I followed closely but then they also seemed to shoot up in price. Especially wire wheel Roadsters and Sport Touring's.

Before the need to seek out touring opportunity's I need to own a running car to tour with. With todays cost vs income relationship, that day is still a long way off

Greg, a very presentable and tourable Series 80 sedan or coach can be had for $25K or less--and if you find one needing refreshing and not having been run in awhile, under $20K.  Other bodies, such as the 4-passenger coupe I sold 3 years ago and any open body styles, are substantially higher.  80s do come on the market regularly, especially within the Club.  A 2014 Weis Award winner (=Best of Show at annual meet) sold for less than $70K.

 

For touring, I recommend a Mitchell overdrive for non-competitive 80s--makes it a different car entirely!  I put one in my sedan which has the deepest factory diff at 4.88 and now it cruises comfortably at 50 (previously comfortable at 36-37, screaming at 40-41).

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It seems like alot of people who are sad they cant get a pre war car are really sad they cant get a hi end pre war car or a convertible or a coupe instead of a sedan. I'm sad we lost a young person to just another modern mustang but then again if thats what he "settled" for then maybe a pre war car would of been the wrong choice anyway. I have seen alot of not expensive sedans sell here like 30's and 40's pontiacs and buicks for 10-20 thousand $. There was just a 6 cylinder Packard sedan that I think sold for like 12 thousand $. Alot of guys seemed interested but just as many said the would be interested if it was a 8 cylinder or a coupe. Well duh but it wouldnt of been so cheap then. My Olds is a sedan. I wanted a 2 door but it was out of the budget. Now tho I'm in the hobby and having fun. I didnt get exactly what I wanted but I have a car I like that I use alot and have fun with. It isn't my alltime dream car but it is still fun and the price was right. Sometimes maybe it's better to just be in the race rather then wait for one you can win......

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4 hours ago, billorn said:

My Olds is a sedan. I wanted a 2 door but it was out of the budget. 

The car in the picture looks like a 4dr hardtop, not a 4dr sedan.  Myself, I'd rather have a 4dr hardtop than a 2dr hardtop.  Just a thought.

 

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Dynaflash,

l sold my 1930 Studebaker Pres. Thursday.It took two and a half years.

AACA forums,ClassicCars.com,Hemmings,generated over 20000 views,with less than 12 inquires.

I worked with the buyer for seven months,he paid me asking price plus.for waiting for him to take of his business.

He,s happy. I have mixed emotions.It took me six years to build.I did it to see if I could get an AACA Grand National

award, got junior and senior on first attempt.

I really don't care for the crap you have do to get Grand National Status..so I lost interest.

The right guy will come along,the catch is how much time you want to wait.

I have never lost money on any car I ever did.I do 99 percent of the work myself.

If you do not have a pretty fair skill set and have to "farm it out"you are allmost guaranteed to lose money

Your conversations lead me to believe you are in a struggle against time and money.

I hope it works out for you.

Only you and your wife can make that  call.

All the best.

Ken

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10 hours ago, Grimy said:

Greg, a very presentable and tourable Series 80 sedan or coach can be had for $25K or less--and if you find one needing refreshing and not having been run in awhile, under $20K.  Other bodies, such as the 4-passenger coupe I sold 3 years ago and any open body styles, are substantially higher.  80s do come on the market regularly, especially within the Club.  A 2014 Weis Award winner (=Best of Show at annual meet) sold for less than $70K.

 

For touring, I recommend a Mitchell overdrive for non-competitive 80s--makes it a different car entirely!  I put one in my sedan which has the deepest factory diff at 4.88 and now it cruises comfortably at 50 (previously comfortable at 36-37, screaming at 40-41).

 

I am surprised they can be that reasonable. Perhaps a sedan would be a good way to learn about Pierce 80's. One concern I have always had about sedans; apart from the obvious draw back to such a complicated wood structure body, is the extra weight of 4 door coachwork. Brakes on 20's cars can be somewhat marginal, I have always thought finding a body style that is as light as possible gives the brakes a fighting chance.  Perhaps too many years of Lotus ownership?

 

Greg in Canada 

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28 minutes ago, ols car dog said:

I have never lost money on any car I ever did.I do 99 percent of the work myself.

Time is money.  Not just the time spent on the restoration, but the opportunity cost of storing a car for years while pursuing a "fair" sale.

 

I'd also add that those who say they can't sell for a fair price are missing the boat.  In a buyer's market (which this is), price is determined by the buyer, not the seller.  The buyer almost always has several cars from which to choose.  If you want him to choose yours, you better be prepared to move towards his position. 

 

Finally, if you're selling a car that you restored, that car likely means more to you than it does to the buyer.  You're valuing with emotion; a prospective buyer is not.  Note the difference between what Dad says his car is worth and what his kids sell it for after he passes.

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36 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

I am surprised they can be that reasonable. Perhaps a sedan would be a good way to learn about Pierce 80's. One concern I have always had about sedans; apart from the obvious draw back to such a complicated wood structure body, is the extra weight of 4 door coachwork. Brakes on 20's cars can be somewhat marginal, I have always thought finding a body style that is as light as possible gives the brakes a fighting chance.  Perhaps too many years of Lotus ownership?

Greg, I neglected to say that the 2014 Weis Award winner is a RUNABOUT (roadster) with disc wheels.  Photo attached.

 

An 80 cannot compare with a Lotus 🙂 but it does have a sheet aluminum body; steel components are fenders, hood, cowl, and splash aprons.  The 4-wheel mechanical brakes on an 80 are the same components used on the senior Series 33/36 which are almost 1,000 lbs heavier (body style for body style), and they stop VERY well IF adjusted as per the book.  Crankcase and trans case are cast aluminum.  Sedans and coaches may initially feel a bit top heavy, especially if you're accustomed to open cars.  I've gone down some seriously long and steep grades in my 80 sedan and never had a problem.  Published weight for a S80 sedan is about 3,700 lbs.  Beware of EDLs (Enclosed Drive Limos) is you are taller than 5'6" because sedan front seats are fixed and the chauffeur loses legroom in 7-passenger models.

 

Do you know Jay Gallagher in the Kamloops area?  He has a 1927 80 runabout that he tours VERY extensively, and I'm sure he would help you find and evaluate a suitable car.

1926 80 rbt Weis2014.jpg

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No, I don't know Joe Gallagher. But it looks like he sure has a nice Pierce ! I rarely get into the interior of B.C. but Kamloops really isn't all that far away  3-4 hours except in the Winter.

 Welcome news to hear the brakes are great for the era, that does make a closed car a practical choice.

 Until my $ gains back a bit of ground ; assuming it ever does, U.S. cars are going to be out of reach. That 33 % handicap is a hurdle too high. And very few Pierces turn up for sale in Western Canada. I know one person locally who is restoring a 1917 Pierce however it is one of the larger models. Otherwise they are a rare bird around here.

 

Greg

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2 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

 

I am surprised they can be that reasonable. Perhaps a sedan would be a good way to learn about Pierce 80's. One concern I have always had about sedans; apart from the obvious draw back to such a complicated wood structure body, is the extra weight of 4 door coachwork. Brakes on 20's cars can be somewhat marginal, I have always thought finding a body style that is as light as possible gives the brakes a fighting chance.  Perhaps too many years of Lotus ownership?

 

Greg in Canada 

 

Speaking as the owner of a wood-framed '20s car with its original brakes, I'll say that your concerns are unfounded. As Grimy says, if the brakes are in proper condition you will not run into problems unless you're doing something foolish in traffic. As with any old car, lots of space, paying attention, and expecting the other guy to do something stupid are all part of the game, no matter what kind of brakes you have. I do not feel vulnerable or that I'm a hazard to others when driving the '29 Cadillac and with my family on board we've covered perhaps 12,000 miles in the last 10 years with that car, including several long trips. On tours, the owners of open cars envy our warm back seat and functioning heater when the weather turns cold and wet. We are rarely without passengers if the weather even remotely starts to look wet.

 

It is not reasonable to expect any old car to behave like a modern car nor for a big car to behave like a small one. But the concerns that you (and many others--the whole "stock brakes are dangerous in today's world" thing has gotten way out of hand) express are non-issues in terms of operation and enjoyment. Don't be stupid, don't drive it like a sports car, treat it appropriately, maintain it properly and you will find that any '20s car will take care of you in return.

 

The wood-framed body is a complete non-issue unless you're resurrecting a wreck. But if it's a complete, solid car, you will never have to address the wood. You're not storing it outside and driving it in the winter, right? It'll be fine--another common fear that's completely unfounded.

 

I recently sold a pair of rather nice Pontiac 2-door sedans, a '29 and a '30, both for under $10,000 in presentable, usable, driveable shape. Their 6-cylinder engines were considerably more powerful than, say, a Model A, and with 4-wheel brakes and relatively light curb weights, they were nice performers with 50-55 MPH cruising ability. Good cars with reasonable price tags are out there. Not Pierce-Arrow roadsters, but big sedans and off-brand cars certainly.

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The brakes on those Cadillacs are HUGE. I am not surprised they stop well. Mind you they are also very big cars. I have a 1926 314 rolling chassis I thought of putting a replica Robbins style Stutz boat tail body on. From a custom series roadster that was turned into a farmers wagon during the war, so the shorter W.B.The very large brakes were something that attracted me to the Cadillac chassis. I have driven open sports cars for much of my life so a open vintage car always seemed like a natural choice. I may have to broaden my criteria to meet my cost constraints.

 

Greg

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My bit of contribution to this thread.  There are now so many choices for a person to make as far as era and type of collectible car or cars to own the prewar cars are not the only show in town anymore.  My first hobby car was a 1937 Dodge 1/2 ton pickup.  I was 36 yrs old at the time of purchase. Most all my friends either wanted street rods or muscle cars.  When I bought the dodge they naturally assumed it was going to become a street rod, which was NOT going to happen under my ownership.  I always admired 1930s autos so the Dodge pushed all the right buttons for me.  I never grew up with cars that old in the family so there was no nostalgia to connect with, my desire to own this era was mostly made from attending the Hershey fall shows.

 

If if I was in the market today, I would be shopping in the 1950s as the oldest contender, the reason, better road manners to cope with today’s level of drivers and the faster pace of driving in general.  It’s been 30+ years since I bought that Dodge.  You could still get around at 45 to 50 mph with minimal disrespect by other drivers who seem to always be in a hurry.  Today, not so much.  The phones and traffic congestion in general contribute to make driving a task and not a joy.  Now that I’m in my late 60s the nostalgia factor for 1950s and up cars is a bigger force than it was when I bought the Dodge.  The colors, models of cars and options all appeal a lot more than they used to and seeing them has a lot more connections for me.

 

There will be a market for pre war cars, postwar cars, muscle cars, sports cars and more.  Each person can choose the era they enjoy best.  Prices and desirability will continue to fluctuate to meet market demands.  What I do see as lacking is getting younger people into the hobby while us older guys are still around to share our experiences with them.   I know I was having the same issue recruiting new Boy Scouts to our troop.  It’s a harder today to sell young people on hands on activities but for many, when they do connect, it becomes a strong interest for them.

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3 hours ago, ols car dog said:

Dynaflash,

l sold my 1930 Studebaker Pres. Thursday.It took two and a half years.

AACA forums,ClassicCars.com,Hemmings,generated over 20000 views,with less than 12 inquires.

I worked with the buyer for seven months,he paid me asking price plus.for waiting for him to take of his business.

He,s happy. I have mixed emotions.It took me six years to build.I did it to see if I could get an AACA Grand National

award, got junior and senior on first attempt.

I really don't care for the crap you have do to get Grand National Status..so I lost interest.

The right guy will come along,the catch is how much time you want to wait.

I have never lost money on any car I ever did.I do 99 percent of the work myself.

If you do not have a pretty fair skill set and have to "farm it out"you are allmost guaranteed to lose money

Your conversations lead me to believe you are in a struggle against time and money.

I hope it works out for you.

Only you and your wife can make that  call.

All the best.

Ken

Time. Old age. And lack of patience.  Noting to do with money.  When I decided to sell it, I wanted to see it gone.

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There was an email directed to my website this week that might be of interest to this group. I've slightly edited it to remove names, etc. but I don't think I've changed the sense:

 

Quote

. . . I work at an after school program, and I wanted to let you know how helpful your page https://www.ply33.com/links was for a young man I have been helping with a science project about cars, horsepower, velocity, and other forces! He's been learning a lot, and at the same time I think has picked up a new hobby- classic cars! He thought your site was really neat, and enjoyed reading the articles and checking out the great pictures of classic cars! I thought you'd be glad to hear, and suggested we send you a quick thank you note!

. . . [he] has struggled to find activities and hobbies the last year or so, and it has been really great to see how much he has been engaged in learning about classic cars and mechanics- as a result of a science project no less! . . .

 

 

I had to actually see antiques driven on the road to get my interest in old cars going, it is nice to hear that younger people can become interested in older cars via the Internet. Note that everything on my website is targeted at pre-WW2 cars, so this "classic cars" interest must include that era. There will be a generation following us that will be interested in our pre-WW2 cars. It might not be as large a group as now but I think it will exist.

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